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Failing the Turing Test

Home again, he sits in the reclining chair and sets down the sweating beer, picks up the phone. Frowning, he puts it back down and picks up a book. The phone doesn’t blink with messages as often as it used to, but he is starting to think maybe that’s okay. The summer is coming and the moon is new and the night is buzzing and chirping. The tenacious bugs beat themselves to death against the reading lamp, the less tenacious drown themselves in the beer. He once read somewhere, the Internet probably, that all the bugs on earth weigh more than all the humans. He wonders if this is true. Probably not. But he takes the phone, types it out, and pushes the question into the ether towards you. He drinks the beer, heavy with dead mosquitoes and gnats, moths and flies, and reads the book. Thirty pages later, the beer empty, the phone vibrates on the table, the sound always jarring. He reads the message and sighs. Presses the phone off, gets up and goes into the kitchen for another beer. Staring out the window, the beer cold in his hand, he thinks maybe it isn’t even you answering anymore. Maybe some engineer at the Googles, annoyed with having to deal with people and all their endless queries, developed an algorithm to answer text messages without having to answering them. And, he thinks, maybe you are one of the early testers, hiding behind digital words on a digital screen. Tired now, he dumps the beer down the drain. A thunderstorm crashes into the sky overhead and he turns off the light, goes to bed. Hopes to dream a memory of you.

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